Rail service has once again been halted from Oceanside to Irvine after land under the historic Casa Romantica in San Clemente continued to slide Monday morning.
The slide occurred sometime between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan told Nexstar’s KTLA.
There was significant movement on the slope and boulders and rocks remained on the tracks in the 10 a.m. hour, the mayor added.
As of 11 a.m. , all train service been Oceanside and Irvine has been interrupted as a result and tracks near the San Clemente Pier are closed, shutting down both the Metrolink and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner. Alternate transportation including busses are being provided, according to Amtrak.
“Because of this I have to pay for a bus ticket too, so now I’m kind of stretching my money and now I have to wait for my parents to get out of work so they can come pick me up,” passenger Estrella Rivera said.
The hillside had previously collapsed in late April, causing the landmark, located at 415 Avenida Granada, to close.
The house, which sits on a bluff just north of the pier, had suffered cracks to its terrace before the collapse occurred. During the April incident, debris came down and landed close to train tracks in the area that had just opened earlier that month.
The historic house and gardens had just reopened to the public in late May.
“As it turns out the rocks in San Clemente are young geologically, several billion years old, but they are weak…The cliff next to the railroads is still quite steep, and steep is not good, the steeper it is the more failures will occur, and this landslide is a long way from being finished,” local geologist Dr. Pat Abbott said.
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley who is also a director of the Orange Country Transportation Authority responded to the matter saying in part, “….I’ve requested that our team work urgently to create a barrier next to the tracks to protect the railroad from falling debris and continue service…For our local economy and way of life to flourish, we cannot afford for these disruptive service suspensions to continue. I remain dedicated to working with our partners to monitor the situation and seriously consider how we can keep our tracks open for more than one week at a time.”
Safety crews had been monitoring the tracks since the April incident.
A spokesperson with Amtrak released a statement Monday evening, saying that passenger and crew safety is a top priority and will continue to assess the tracks to ensure the safe operation of the passenger rail.
“The extent of the slide, which is continuing to move, is still being assessed. Once the assessment is completed, a work plan will be created to determine when service will resume. We are working with our partners at OCTA, Metrolink, and the City of San Clemente to reopen the tracks as soon as safely possible,” the statement explained.
“We have secured bus bridges (shuttle bus connections) between Oceanside and Irvine for our passengers (and provided those today) to help them complete their planned journeys. Any updates will be posted on our website ( https://www.pacificsurfliner.com/plan-your-trip/alerts/travel-advisories/#trackclosuresand ) and on Twitter (@pacsurfliners).”
FOX 5’s Danielle Dawson and Sarah Alegre contributed to this report.